SAN FRANCISCO—Today, Bank of America will be at the center of attention as the country protests the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, including major Occupy Wall Street West actions in San Francisco. Hundreds are expected for a Bank of America ‘Tour of Shame’ Friday morning, visiting main branches in San Francisco’s Financial District.
The tour, led by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), intends to issue the bank with ‘arrest warrants’ highlighting a major critique over corporate personhood that has surfaced with the Citizens United debate.
“Bank of America leads the country in home foreclosures and investments in environmentally destructive projects, such as coal-fired power plants. We are urging customers to stop doing business with Bank of America, closing their accounts and boycotting ATMs, until the bank stops gambling with the health and safety of our economy and our environment. If Bank of America would like to regain the trust of the 99 percent, it must start by adopting sound economic and environmental policies that reflect the values of its customers,” said Amanda Starbuck, Rainforest Action Network’s Energy and Finance Campaign Director.
Environmentalists have joined the mounting outrage at Bank of America’s reckless financing practices, a critique which has been on display with the Occupy Movement and with the record transfer of customer accounts to credit unions. According to the Credit Union National Association, 650,000 consumers across the nation joined credit unions just in October 2011.
“Bank of America, like so many big banks, has destroyed our communities and the economy with its practices. But we’re fighting back,” said Josephine Tolbert, a 75-year-old great grandmother whose Portola home was foreclosed when BoA sold it to True Compass LLC, about why she is attending today’s ‘Tour of Shame.’ “I’m here today not only to demand BoA rescind my loan, but to demand that BoA work with others to modify their loans and pay for what the bank did to our economy.”
Bank of America leads all others when it comes to foreclosing on America’s homes and financing the U.S. coal industry. As of June 2010, BoA had $88 billion worth of foreclosed homes in its portfolio, and invested over $4.3 billion in coal. In addition, while the company has shed nearly 100,000 jobs over the past seven years and has seen its stock prices plummet in the last few months, executives continue to award themselves with near-record bonuses.
Today’s ‘Tour of Shame’ comes just after activists with Rainforest Action Network turned dozens of BoA ATMs in San Francisco into "automated truth machines." Activists taped over the checking, savings and deposit interface on 85 ATMs with options such as "bankroll climate change" and "fund executive bonuses."
Altogether, activists from 50 organizations have planned to target 22 bank branches and other financial industry offices in San Francisco in the Friday demonstration.
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org